SaberSphere 5/7: Doc, Hitting, and Home Runs

David Banks

As it seems to happen on a weekly basis, today is Tuesday. Tuesday's SaberSphere isn't flashy, not is it priceless like MasterCard, instead it just continues to be a solid place to find all the important articles to be read on the internet. Yes, we may be far from the weekend, but Tuesday's Sabersphere should help to quell those weekend urges, just take a look!

Today's SaberSphere takes a look at hitting out of the 9th spot, interleague play, and Doc Halladay. We also traverse the baseball world

Previously on Beyond the Box Score

Almost everything you ever wanted to know about pitchers and hitting is covered in Stephen's latest piece. He looks at the history, the present, and the future, making sure you leave knowing everything there is, and might be concerning the 9-spot in the batting order in the National League.

It seems that every Tuesday Chris St. John comes up with another great piece. Well, you won't be disappointed with this one. He looks at the grandest home runs, and discusses where they are hit, how we perceive them, and what we can learn from this discussion. Never miss a Chris St. John article, it's a rule I live by, and so should you.

We love our baseball articles because, let's face it, reading is fun, still we can't read while driving, working, cooking, or working out. That's where the BTBS podcast comes in. Blake Murphy and our fearless leader Bryan Grosnick take to the air every week, now twice a week, discussing baseball, but doing so with a statistical and analytical approach. This week they talk Nationals baseball, Roy Halladay's issues, and my personal favorite, the "weird stat of the day."

Around the Sabersphere

Now that interleague play is a weekly event, we can compare this new phenomenon to the slightly older paradigm. I have difficulty finding better baseball business reads than those written by former practicing lawyer Wendy Thurm and Maury Brown. Thurm, a Giants fan, can be found on Twitter @hangingsliders, and always has a well-written interesting piece on Fangraphs. This one on interleague attendance is similarly great.

We love to focus on players and neglect coaches completely when analyzing the game, but at a certain point we might as well look at the coaching aspect. Players and pundits note the importance of coaches, most of which is psychological, but a small amount of which is not. At Baseball Prospectus, no stone is left unturned, and Russell Carleton, who has become a staple of my weekly baseball reading, looks now at hitting coaches' value.

Shifts have become a fad in the big leagues, from the Rays and Orioles who shift often even to the Phillies and Royals who shift far less often. Most shifts come against pull-happy lefties like David Ortiz and Ryan Howard, but lately the concept has shifted across the batter's box to right-handed hitters. Noah Woodward of The Hardball Times takes a look at these shifts.

Around SB Nation

To no one's surprise, the Phillies' Roy Halladay was placed on the disabled list. Why, for how long, and to what end are the questions being asked around the league. In addition, who will replace him in the Phillies rotation? Rodger Sherman has the answers and links.

Have you seen Yu Darvish pitch this season? Well, if not you're sorely missing out on some of the best baseball to be had in 2013. Darvish commands more pitches than most, and does so with strikeouts as the predominant result. Marc Normandin takes a closer look at the Japanese righty and his penchant for punch-outs.

Outside the Sabersphere

As a twentysomething in today's age, I often consider where I fit into today's changing world. More to the point, today's world is vastly different from 15 years ago, or even 5 years in the past. So, it's more important than ever to understand where we are, and how to be the best we can in the present. Thomas Freidman discusses this in his latest op-ed. No matter who you are, there is something to take away from this piece, I know I did.

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